The Yearlong Shawl Project



When I started this shawl last June, I never imagined all that would happen in the year it would take me to finish knitting it up. There was a big move cross-country, old friends to say goodbye to and new friends to meet, a baby who would learn how to crawl, walk, and talk…

The bulk of the knitting happened in the last month and a half or so, as I envisioned the gardens, barefoot babes, yarn festivals and backyard shenanigans of summer 2012. There are a lot of light, happy thoughts knit into this scarf, and I have already been enjoying wrapping myself up in them.

Despite the length of time this was on the needles, I had a great time knitting it.  It took me a while to fall in love with the chart, yet once I spent some solid time getting to know it, the knitting flew by.  Kirsten Kapur never ceases to amaze me with her designs, and I’m already thinking about knitting another of her shawls.

What can I say about the yarn that hasn’t already been said?  Madelinetosh is known for its beautiful colorways and deliciously soft yarn.  I knit my first Ishbel in the Lettuce colorway a while back, and was thrilled to get more on the needles.  One drag I feel compelled to mention: there were 2 knots in the yarn that turned out to be ends. That made me hulk-angry mad. Okay, maybe not turning green and splitting my pants mad, but irritated enough to think about sending an email to Madelinetosh and Webs. I briefly thought about teaching myself how to do a Russian join, but in the end I just made doubly sure to weave in those extra 4 ends nice and securely.

The details:

With this shawl off the needles, I am in search of The Next Big Knit.  Suggestions?


Yarn Along:: Happiness in Progress

Last week I was reading and knitting a lot at my sister’s house.  On the needles was another attempt at Little Sister’s Dress, this time for Baby M in Be Sweet Cotton Candy.  More on that project another day…

On the nightstand was The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  This was a fun and inspiring read, one that motivated me to give my life a little look-see to see where I could increase happiness.  Inspired by Rubin’s 12 Personal Commandments and Secrets of Adulthood, I came up with my own.  Some of my personal commandments are:

Be myself, Tell the truth, Don’t keep score, Let it go, Pack a snack, Don’t let it fester, Keep my word, Show love and gratitude, Be present, Ask for help.

One of the little tidbits in her book that has really stuck with me is this: if it takes less than a minute to do something, just go ahead and do it now.  Keeping this in the back of my mind has helped keep some of those messy piles at bay, like laundry, dirty dishes, paperwork to file, etc.  It may seem silly, but clutter and feeling like there’s something to clean or do gets me down; by taking care of these things before they get out of hand, I can increase my happiness in small measures.

For this week’s Yarn Along, I’ve returned to a favorite author and a longtime work-in-progress.

I first read Lisa See a few years ago when my book club selected Snowflower and the Secret Fan.  This was a classic case of reading something I wouldn’t have normally chosen to read, and loving it.  Since then See has come out with two more works of fiction, and they have both been on my reading to-do list for some time.  So when I saw Shanghai Girls at the library, it was a no brainer.  Set in the 1930s and spanning two decades, this is the story of two Chinese sisters caught between the traditions of the past and the opportunities and confusion of modern life.  I’m  just starting out on the adventure with May and Pearl, but already I am hooked.

My knitting is chugging along; I’m on the last repeat of the second chart for Hamamelis, which is the main body of the shawl.  As you can see, it’s doing that typical scrunched up lace trick, where it doesn’t look like anything very impressive yet.  History reminds me that as soon as this beauty is off the needles and given a nice bath and a firm blocking, it will transform into something else entirely.  I’m trying to keep that in mind as I work steadily on it in an attempt to finish this month.  Which reminds me: happy June, everyone!

What’s on your nightstand or in your project bag this week?

Yarn Along:: Knit Lit & Lace

Playing along with Ginny again this week. I find that this blog along is keeping my knitting and reading moving forward at a nice pace so that I have something different to show you each week.  Thanks for the weekly inspiration!

I decided to indulge in a light bit of romantic knit lit this week.  How to Knit a Love Song is better than I was expecting it to be, if I’m honest, and I keep reading to see what is going to become of Abigail and her inherited cottage full of fiber and spinning supplies.  Each chapter begins with a Zimmerman-like bit of knitting wisdom, which has me chuckling here and there.  Then there is the somewhat adult matter of the love story which has good tension, but that makes me roll my eyes every few chapters. I love a good love story, but this moves a little too close to the bodice-ripping genre at times for my taste.  Of course, I don’t mind a little sensual description of the yarn and knitting… Overall a fun, quick read that I am enjoying very much.

After finishing my Socktoberfest socks last week, I decided it was high time to bring another older project out into the light.  I started the Hamamelis shawl last July as part of a summer lace knit-along with my knitting group.  It got off to a good start, but somewhere between packing, moving cross-country, and getting settled in a new place, the chart was just too much for me.  Fortunately, I took good notes of my progress and was able to pick it right up and knit without any problems.  Hopefully I will finish it before July 2011!

What are you reading or working on this week?

Wandering Eye

I tried to be faithful, I really did.

After finishing my Lenore socks, I decided I needed to face my wips.  I only had 3, and I thought surely they would keep me entertained until after The Move.  I thought forcing myself to knit on these already started projects would do me some good and clear the decks for some inspired fall knitting.

It lasted 2 days.

I tried to focus on my Hamamelis shawl, I really did!  But the charts and lace don’t make for good relaxing in front of a movie knitting for me, and that’s really all I have room for right now.  The good news is, I did make some progress on it before going on a cast-on spree.  Another of my wips wasn’t so lucky…


I have been vacillating over what to do with my long-languishing Hemlock Ring blanket for months.  I was pretty sure it wasn’t going to get finished, yet something wouldn’t allow me to rip out all that lovely knitting.  Then one day I was casually browsing projects on Ravelry when Sweetie noticed what I was looking at.  Those are cool, she said, looking at some colorwork mittens.  Knowing she likes owls, I said: I bet there’s something similar with owls on them.  A few clicks later we had decided on a pair of cabled owl mittens, and a matching owlet sweater for Peaceful Baby.  Suddenly I knew what all that Malabrigo would be good for, and it was very easy to rip out!

I also cast on a little something for PB to protect her tender knees during all the crawling she’s been doing.  This project is knitting up super fast, and I should be finished after the weekend. Have a good one!